After nearly 10 years at Simon & Schuster, editor Anne Schwartz is returning to Random House as vice-president and editorial director of her own imprint. Schwartz, who at S&S was head of Anne Schwartz Books, left Random in 1995, where she had been publisher of Apple Soup Books. She is the editor of Ian Falconer's bestselling Olivia, winner of a 2001 Caldecott Honor, as well as its two sequels.

"It's going to be a great home for my authors and illustrators," Schwartz said. In addition to Falconer, she has worked with Patricia McKissack, Jerry Pinkney, Candace Fleming, Mary Pope Osborne and James Carville. The next Olivia book, Olivia Does Christmas, is scheduled to be published by S&S this fall.

Schwartz said that Random House is interested in beefing up its picture book publishing program, which had been scaled back somewhat over the last decade. "I work on books for kids of all ages," she said, "but I'm primarily involved in picture books, which may not be selling so well these days, but they want to be prepared for when that picks up."

Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, echoed her comments when he said, "In my soon-to-be three years here, one of the things everyone keeps informing me about is the cyclical nature of the business. When you're as big as we are now, you've got to manage a diverse portfolio. Bonds may be down now, but they could be back up in a year." Gibson added, "Despite market softness, the company is eager for more strong picture books. And [as a division] we are expected to grow. Anne's coming in marks the development of a stream of indigenous growth."

Schwartz's first day at Random House is February 7. Her imprint, which is not yet named, is a freestanding imprint of Random House Children's Books, and she will report to Gibson.